Students with a skateboard and time to kill have a new place in South L.A. to practice their kickflips, as the Trinity Recreation Center opened its newly built skate park this past weekend.
The 3,000-square-foot park features ramps, rails and jumps for skaters of all levels. Its addition to Trinity Recreation Center is part of a renovation project that includes new landscaping, improvements to security lighting to make the center safer at night, a hydration station and more than a dozen trees to provide shade.
Los Angeles City Councilman Curren Price and the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks hosted an event this past weekend to celebrate the park’s opening.
“One of my office’s top priorities is to continue to invest into our local parks, which bring much joy to families and help keep communities fit and healthy,” Price said in a statement. “Since coming into office we have now successfully opened our second skate park in District 9. Trinity Skate Park will serve as a place where families and youth will be able to come together and enjoy what their community has to offer — in their own backyard!”
Graduate student Joey Balleweg, a graduate student studying journalism, said that the new skate park, located at 2415 Trinity St, will be good not just for USC students, but for the South L.A community as well.
“Skateboarding in the South L.A area is pretty big; it’s a lot of skaters out here,” Balleweg said. “To have a place where skaters go is really important and gives an opportunity for the sport to grow.”
According to USC environmental studies student Breken Hummel, the skate park will also serve as a great place for skaters to let out their emotions.
“It’ll give people a free place to relax, which is what skating is for a lot of people,” Hummel said. “It’s a way to relax and blow off steam, and it’ll be a great place to build new friendships with people who skate because a lot of skaters are kind of alone when they skate.”
As an avid skateboarder, Hummel said that skating is about freedom and being able to push yourself to do harder things.
The park will also work to add a sense of understanding and validation to the community, according to Dr. Neftalie Williams, sociologist and a Provost postdoctoral scholar at USC Annenberg who works with issues in race, diversity, identity and youth empowerment.
“It shows that adults understand that what they’re doing has value and is important to them. It also gives them the space to just be skateboarders,” Williams said. “It’s important that young people see themselves reflected in the resources that we allocate.”
Additionally, Mike Shull, general manager of the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, said in a press release that the department hopes the park serves as a communal hub.
“This facility serves as an anchor and gathering place for the community, and this skate park gives youth a place to meet with people who have the same interest,” Shull said.
In William’s eyes, the skateboarding community cultivates a space where people of all ages can share “an intergenerational transfer of information.”
“You’re able to both aspire to something when you’re younger or newer, and when you’re sort of a veteran in skateboarding you also see yourself in those new people,” Williams added. “We just don’t have that many opportunities where we get to see ourselves reflected in other people.”
This is exactly why moving forward, Williams also hopes to work with the USC President and Provost toward building a skate park on campus for the USC and greater L.A. community.
Correction made Sept. 30 at 10 a.m.: A previous version of this story included a typo in Mike Shull’s statement. It has since been corrected.